Prime Suspect: Martin Sandoval, IL State Senator
Nickname: Red-light Baron
Status: Under federal investigation
This past legislative session, Senator Sandoval was the lead negotiator for the largest capital bill in the history of Illinois, coming in at $45 billion for roads and vertical infrastructure. Chairman of the powerful Senate Transportation Committee, he’s also one of the most notoriously shady characters in the statehouse and federal investigators have finally taken notice. The FBI is reportedly looking into whether Sandoval received bribes in return for government handouts and favors. Documents show that Sandoval’s corruption may have been wide ranging as those involved in the investigation include five Illinois Department of Transportation officials, lobbyists, utility company ComEd and multiple municipal officials.
UPDATE – Sandoval resigns:
Over the Thanksgiving weekend, Sandoval submitted his resignation, effective January 1, 2020. The date of his resignation is important as it allowed only a six day special filing period for candidates wishing to serve the remainder of Sandoval’s term. In typical fashion, the only candidate with enough support from the machine and with prior knowledge of the resignation will be able to file the required amount of signatures during the six day filing period.
UPDATE #2 – Sandoval pleads guilty:
During a lengthy hearing in federal court, Sandoval admitted soliciting bribes totaling $250,000 over a three-year period in exchange for his political influence or official action, including at least $70,000 from a clouted red-light camera company for acting as its “protector” in the state Senate. Sandoval was known to have killed numerous bills aimed at abolishing red-light cameras. Now we know why.
Sandoval is cooperating with investigators, signalling that other public officials connected to the former Senator could also soon hear their names red out loud by a federal judge in court.